Buzzy Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi is making its first major appearance at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year. The company is set to unveil the Mi 5, its latest flagship smartphone, in what it calls a "Global Launch Event." Could that naming, along with the event's location, hint that Xiaomi might be looking to expand its borders further beyond Asia? It'd be a long shot, but you can tune into the live stream above to find out.
Xiaomi rose to prominence a few years ago as one of the first companies to sell competent smartphones at extremely low prices, gathering a large user base with the intention of hooking people on a broader ecosystem. Hype around the company peaked in late 2014, when it was valued at a staggering $46 billion.
The pressure is on
Amid an overall slowdown in China, however, Xiaomi has recently missed sales targets in China and failed to prove the viability of its service-based business model, casting doubt over how much further the company can grow and how long its users will stick around. It faces significant logistical difficulties launching phones abroad, and telecoms giant Huawei in particular has proven a major threat at home, using scale to outmuscle Xiaomi at the high end and introducing its similarly nimble, inexpensive Honor brand at the low.
The pressure is on, then, for Xiaomi's biggest event of 2016. The presentation itself begins at 3AM ET / 9AM CET, 55 minutes after the company starts broadcasting its live stream.